Alpine regions are typically defined as the zones above the tree line in mountainous areas, known for their harsh climates and sparse landscapes. Because of the extreme conditions, structures built in these areas must have a higher standard of functionality and durability. The alpine regions seem to demand more of architecture and at the same time they afford the architect less gratuitous artistic expression. Because of these constrains we’re actually quite fascinated with the built-forms above the tree line and we’ve had a ton of fun researching 10 project that we think you’ll enjoy brushing up on.

We tried to find some examples outside of the Alps, really we did. The fact of the matter is that most of the world is building with Lincoln Logs when it comes to alpine structures. Meanwhile the Swiss and Austrians are busy being innovative, sophisticated and confident with their built-work above (and below) the tree line.

Holiday house in Scheidegg Switzerland by AFGH

[Photos by Valentin Jeck]

Alpine Structure in Gornergrat Canton of Valais Switzerland, architect unknown

[Photo by Toni_V]

Monte Rosa lodge near Zermatt Switzerland by Bearth & Deplazes Architekten AG

[Photos by Tonatiuh Ambrosetti]

Extension to the Michela alpine hut in the Blenio Valley Switzerland by Baserga Mozzetti Architetti

Extension to the Moiry Hut near Sierre, Valais, Switzerland by Baserga Mozzetti Architetti

Olpererhütte  in Ginzling Austria by Hermann-Kaufmann
There’s a good blog post on the assembly of this project over at BFC.

House near Lech Austria by Dietrick + Untertrifaller Architekten

[Photos by Bruno Klomfar]

Hafenberg House in Dornbirn Austria by Gerold Wiederin

[Photos by A.T. Neubau]

Matterhorn glacier paradise tourist centre on the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland

Tschierva Hut near St. Moritz, Switzerland by Hans-Jörg Ruch Architektur
[Photo by Filippo Simonetti]